Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)

Mac Mini with RBOD


req7777
 Share

Recommended Posts

Could you elaborate more on why USB 3 is a bad solution?

Would Thunderbolt be any better?

---

 

I like Lian Li very much, and StableBit DrivePool's replacement for drive extender seems like something I've been after for a long, long time as well. Thanks for the links.

If I was starting from scratch today I'd probably try to go for Lian Li or equivalent plus some low cost Linux based PC (or if that wouldn't work Windows PC).

 

I should probably mention that earlier, but I am looking for a low cost solution, reusing gear I already have which consists of:

   • a soundproof, kids-proof ;-), pets-proof etc, retro-looking enclosure – see attached images

   • HP Mediasmart's  enclosure with 4 drive bays, PSU and fans

   • Mac Mini with Mac OSX

   • optionally GoodSync – I own one Mac and one PC licenses so I could use it as a software for mirroring/backups – I would have to split my drive pool which I am ok with.

 

Regarding other software I don't really need much. I am using PLEX for media and will probably go for MAMP as a web server. It would be also nice if I could find some software for remote file sharing, similar to dropbox but with only few users.

 

So moving on, and probably giving up on hardware RAID...

Creating drive pools looks easy right out of a box in OS X:  https://youtu.be/dougISKs2vQ

 

 

Essentially I am only missing some kind of 'OEM version' of the  Lian Li or equivalent - whiteout the case, just the interface.

Hope it makes sense.

 

Thanks for your replies and ideas.

 

 

 

IMG_8936-300x225.jpgdevelopement1-700x393@2x1-700x393.jpg

I am a bit confused, How are you going to mount hard drives without the case?

When you say you need some kind of  'OEM version' of the  Lian Li or equivalent - whiteout the case, just the interface. What do you mean?

How many hard drives makeup the 4TB?

Are all hard drives the same size?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a bit confused, How are you going to mount hard drives without the case?

When you say you need some kind of  'OEM version' of the  Lian Li or equivalent - whiteout the case, just the interface. What do you mean?

How many hard drives makeup the 4TB?

Are all hard drives the same size?

 

 

Sorry if I didn't make it clear.

I have a HP Mediasmart EX 470, that I could use as a shell for the hard drives.

it has the power supply and fans that are perfectly fine for 4 my HDDs

My HDDs are as follows

 - 2 x 2TB

 - 2 x 200MB

  (I would probably get rid of the small ones and buy another 2 TB)

Hope it makes things a little bit clearer.

Edited by req7777
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry if I didn't make it clear.

I have a HP Mediasmart EX 470, that I could use as a shell for the hard drives.

it has the power supply and fans that are perfectly fine for 4 my HDDs

My HDDs are as follows

 - 2 x 2TB

 - 2 x 200MB

  (I would probably get rid of the small ones and buy another 2 TB)

Hope it makes things a little bit clearer.

 

The problem is that there isn't a good way that allows you to convert it to anything else.  It's a completely custom form factor, with a completely custom motherboard.  

 

Now, since you appear to have the carpentry skills .... what you could do is build/modify the case around hardware. 

 

Grab a Mini ITX board, make mount points for the motherboard.  (Try Tony Mac or the like to find Hackintosh friendly boards) 

Grab a SFX or 1U PSU, and mount that somewhere. 

Grab a backplane and mount that, as well, Like this:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NMAZUK/

 

That would let you have your custom case (which admitted is pretty effing bad ass!) and get a custom computer inside of it. 

 

If you don't want to PC stuff, and just want drives, that gets a lot more complicated, unfortunately. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is that there isn't a good way that allows you to convert it to anything else.  It's a completely custom form factor, with a completely custom motherboard.  

 

Now, since you appear to have the carpentry skills .... what you could do is build/modify the case around hardware. 

 

Grab a Mini ITX board, make mount points for the motherboard.  (Try Tony Mac or the like to find Hackintosh friendly boards) 

Grab a SFX or 1U PSU, and mount that somewhere. 

Grab a backplane and mount that, as well, Like this:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NMAZUK/

 

That would let you have your custom case (which admitted is pretty effing bad ass!) and get a custom computer inside of it. 

 

If you don't want to PC stuff, and just want drives, that gets a lot more complicated, unfortunately. 

 

 

 

Thanks for your suggestions, that is much closer to what I'm looking for.

I was also considering some small ATX boards before; also Raspberry PI and other minicomputers as a low cost option.

All that seems interesting but I'm afraid might be beyond my skills and time I can spare for get it all to work. 

 

btw. I have some soldering, DIY improvisation skills and not afraid of command line either, but the carpentry was done by a pro  ;)

 

Against the advice :-) I ordered a bunch of SATA II to USB 3 adaptors (data only) as they were like $15 for 3 of them and will experiment with them when they arrive in a week or so. I am going to power the HDDs from Mediasmart's PSU. 

This way I can utilise multiple USB ports which theoretically should allow for higher bandwidth as I will try to create a drive pool with 2 hard drives as a main 4TB storage, and keep the third one for automated backups.

I am guessing the effective bandwidth will be limited by the gigabit ethernet, wifi, 3G or whatever I am currently connecting with anyway...

 

 

I just tried and Mac Mini can perfectly fit sitting on top of the old Media Smart inside my box. Since it is all locked inside I am not concerned about cables, loose cards and adaptors, I can always secure them somehow inside my case.

And the Time Machine backups over the air cannot be underestimated. Especially since I am using a Macbook as a main machine, so I think my new server will rather be an OSX for now, but will see how it goes...

So still I think that setup would need only a good drive pool/drive array controller.

 

What do you think?

 

 

here is a current photo of the build

aretha.jpg

 

Edited by req7777
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is that there isn't a good way that allows you to convert it to anything else.  It's a completely custom form factor, with a completely custom motherboard.  

 

Now, since you appear to have the carpentry skills .... what you could do is build/modify the case around hardware. 

 

Grab a Mini ITX board, make mount points for the motherboard.  (Try Tony Mac or the like to find Hackintosh friendly boards) 

Grab a SFX or 1U PSU, and mount that somewhere. 

Grab a backplane and mount that, as well, Like this:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NMAZUK/

 

That would let you have your custom case (which admitted is pretty effing bad ass!) and get a custom computer inside of it. 

 

If you don't want to PC stuff, and just want drives, that gets a lot more complicated, unfortunately. 

To bad Diehard John was not still around and involved with the community, He loved his Dremel and I bet he could turn this box into a new SKU :D

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
An update on the progress with my little build.

 

 

 

It’s been quite a nightmare so far – retrieving files from the Mediasmart is horribly slow and painful.
 
 
Smaller files go through ok but larger ones – nope.
 
Basically what it does – it would start copying a file and after few seconds pause for few minutes. Then continue for few seconds, then pause again. And so on.
 
 
I’ve read it might be related to the overflow settings on the network adaptor somewhere,
(perhaps also my network configuration)
 
 
It happens when I simply connect via SMB and copy files using some file manager such as Total Commander.
After over a week of struggle with it I gave up and started to look for other solutions.
 
 
 
Tried bit torrent for a while, not much success. Apparently it is not possible to create torrents from large folders/files on Windows 2003 due to memory limitation, I think. (I was using MakeTorrent to batch create torrents).
 
 
Finally tried FTP and bingo! – so far it works.
I’m using Transmit – it has useful sync functionality, can resume failed transfers as well, so you are able to pretty much automate the process. No more writing down the names of files that had failed – I was forced to do so with SMB method.
 
An FTP server is set up on the Mediasmart and I connect from the Mac with Transmit.
 
 
btw
My MediaSmart EX470 is an upgraded one, with X2 processor and 2GB ram.
 
Once the file transfer is complete I'm going to wipe the mediasmart's HDD's, remove the logic board and use the case as the housing for HDD's as it has a nice and reliable PSU, fans and I like it's design in general. Pity it's no longer usable for me as is.
Will probably post some images.
Edited by req7777
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the NIC stuff..

 

Turn off any setting that has "checksum" or "offload" in the name.  Turn off the "Green Ethernet".  Turn off Jumbo frames. 

And do so on both the client and server. 

 

Also, stop the "DE Migrator" service. 

 

And on any client that is Vista or up, run the following from an administrative command prompt: 

netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=highlyrestricted
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The build is finally up and running – just transferring files to a new 'drive pool'.

 

I've set up my old two 2TB HDDs to RAID 0. Each drive is connected to Mac Mini via separate USB cable (with cheap SATA to USB adapters). I've read something on the web that there is 2 separate USB buses in Mac Mini, but I cannot confirm that by looking at the hardware details of my machine.

 

I'm getting around 90MB/s when copying files from Mac Mini's built in HDD onto my RAID storage, which I think is quite decent as the the computer is not the fastest one. From my tests an external WD Passport HDD was actually performing better than the Mac's built-in one :-)

 

This set-up won't be as flexible as the famous Mediasmart's and WHS 2003's drive extender, but should do just fine.

 

 

 

Here are some pics from the building site:

 

Work in progress – taking apart good old HP Mediasmart  :( 

work-in-progress.jpg

 

 

Conversion kit ~ £25/$30

conversion-kit.jpg

 

Fitting of the power switch – switch's light doesn't work! D'oh!

power-switch.jpg

 

 

Testing HDDs connected via cheap USB to SATA adapter. Quite a decent transfer ~ 120 MB/s for WD Green.

hdd-test.jpg

 

 

Testing RAID – success!

raid-test.jpg

 

 

Sealing unused power cables' ends with a hot glue gun. They may come handy one day.

sealing-psu-cables.jpg

 

 

All power cables secured!

psu-cables-secure.jpg

 

 

Power switch is a bit too small for this hole. D'OH!

power-switch-size-fail.jpg

 

 

Two HDDs inside the old case. Still plenty of room for 2 more, might need the opposite angle SATA cables to make it easier...

hdd-connection.jpg

 

 

(continued in the next post)

Edited by req7777
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

(continued from the previous post)

 

Finished shell – from the back.

shell-back.jpg

 

 

…and the front. A small connector on the side is for the outer shell fans.

shell-front.jpg

 

 

Temporary mess inside the server – has been running like that for about 2 weeks  :wacko:

mess-inside.jpg

 

 

Ready to place the 3.5'' drives bay.

case-inside-empty.jpg

 

 

Server outside. Finally closed and quiet as a mouse.

server-outside.jpg

 

 

By the way…

I was surprised to see all the files of the Mediasmart’s system drive when I connected it to my Mac. Files seemed perfectly readable even though I haven’t removed other two HDDs from the pool before disconnecting everything from the old server. That would have saved some time of copying…

Edited by req7777
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Love it! 

And yeah, the WHSv1 Drive Extender pool stores everything on NTFS volumes.  But just a word to the wise, ONLY access the files in the "DE" folders.  Don't access the old D:\shares folder. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...